Tennessee House Passes Pro-Life Bill for 48-Hour Waiting Period, Abortion Alternatives

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 21, 2015   |   12:52PM   |   Nashville, TN

The Tennessee state House this morning approved a pro-life bill that requires a 48-hour waiting period before an abortion so women considering an abortion can consider information on the development of their baby and alternatives to abortion. When passed in other states, such bills have successfully cut the number of abortions by helping pregnant women find alternatives.

HB 0977 requiring informed consent and 48 hour waiting period was passed 79 – 18 and 27 – 5 in the Senate.  HB 1368 requiring licensure and inspection of abortion facilities passed 81 – 17 and 28 – 4 in the Senate.

The bills were approved by super-majorities in both the state House and state Senate and will soon be headed to Governor Haslam for his signature.  As drafted, the statutes will go into effect on July 1, 2015.

Tennessee Right to Life strongly supports the legislation, which also requires licensing abortion clinics — a critical element of holding shady abortion clinics accountable that has closed abortion businesses in other states.

“Tennessee Right to Life thanks the people of Tennessee who supported Amendment 1 and the many legislative sponsors and supporters of these bills to protect the health and safety of women and girls,” said Brian Harris, the organization’s president.  “Children will now be given a better chance at life because their mothers and families had the extra time and opportunity to make fully informed decisions.”

Harris said the bills come largely in response to voter passage of Amendment 1 last November which allows the people and elected officials more leeway in the regulation of abortion facilities in Tennessee.  Weaker abortion laws in Tennessee have contributed to large numbers of out-of-state women seeking to terminate pregnancies which, according to the Centers for Disease Control,  has resulted in Tennessee becoming an abortion destination in which of 1 of 4 abortions was sought by a woman or girl from another state.

“Passing these bills will restore life to Tennessee by requiring informed consent and a 48-hour waiting period for women and girls considering abortion and require abortion facilities to be licensed and inspected by the TN Department of Health,” the pro-life group said.

“Those who profit from unregulated abortion in Tennessee are the losers today,” said Harris while “women, girls and families are empowered by the requirement that adequate and accurate information is provided to assure careful decisions to protect health and life in our state.”

The group said the legislation would “enact informed consent provisions and a short waiting period to reduce coerced abortions and abortion-on-demand.  Restoration of a 48-hour waiting period is even more critical as neighboring states have recently passed and/or considering longer waiting periods than Tennessee.”

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House Bill 1368/Senate Bill 1280 by Rep. Susan Lynn would require abortion facilities to be licensed and inspected the same as ambulatory surgical centers in our state.

Abortion business across the country are known for failing to follow basic health and safety laws that provide for the protection of patients that legitimate medical centers routinely follow on a daily basis. In other states with similar pro-life laws, abortion clinics have shut down that are unable to follow these basic rules and requirements. That results in saving unborn children from abortions and protecting women’s lives and health.

“This proposal fulfills a promise to Tennessee voters that we would restore common sense protections for women and girls considering abortion,” said Rep. Lynn.  “We have a duty and an obligation to ensure that health and safety standards are enforced consistently within facilities performing out-patient surgeries, including those performing abortions.”

Data from the Centers for Disease Control documents that 1 of 4 abortions performed in Tennessee is sought by a woman residing in another state, the 3rd highest out-of-state abortion rate in the nation.  Such numbers and lack of regulation have resulted in Tennessee becoming known as an abortion destination, something Lynn hopes to change.

“Our goal must be to have safeguards in place that are at least as strong as those of neighboring states,” said Lynn.  “I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues and Tennessee’s pro-life movement as we work to promote the protection of life and health in our state.”